Australian Test captain Tim Paine says a fielding stint in Worcester has reaffirmed why being a wicketkeeper is a help, not a hindrance, when it comes to leading the team.
Paine handed the keeping gloves to Matthew Wade for the duration of Worcestershire’s innings in the three-day Ashes tour game, which ended with two of three sessions being washed out on Friday.
Australia made the shift to ensure Wade’s glovework would be as sharp as possible for the rest of the series, should Paine suffer an injury during a Test.
Paine, who has shared the gloves with Wade at Tasmania in recent years, even found himself on the fence at one point in the game.
When Paine became Australia’s 46th Test captain, one counter-argument made by some pundits was that juggling the responsibilities of keeping and leading was not a good idea.
Paine’s experience in recent days served as evidence to the contrary.
“I didn’t really enjoy it, it was a bit boring,” he quipped.
“It’s different because you don’t see what the ball is doing … I found it a little bit harder in this game, when you can’t see exactly what’s happening.
“You’re relying on other people’s information a lot.
“People have said in the past that being a wicketkeeper and a captain might be a disadvantage. Now that I’ve done it a bit more, I see it as more of an advantage.”
The 34-year-old suggested there were several reasons why.
“I can see ball movement, see or feel when a bowler’s getting tired from the way he’s hitting my gloves,” Paine said.
“I can see exactly where a batsman is moving to, or what mark he’s batting on and stuff like that.”
Paine admitted there was a lot to like as captain as his team take a 1-0 series lead to London for the Lord’s Test that starts on Wednesday.
But the Tasmanian, targeting Australia’s first Test series win in England since 2001, admitted a lot of nervous tension would return as he prepared to lead the tourists at the home of cricket.
“We’ve planned well but things can change quite quickly over here,” Paine said.
“We’ve got off to a good start, which is great, but we’ve got a whole new Test match in completely different conditions.”
Meanwhile, England has left all-rounder Moeen Ali out of the squad for the second Ashes Test against Australia. Fast bowler Jofra Archer was included in the 12 and looks poised to make his Test debut.